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Information Before You Order NSCAW

This page contains important information about the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being NSCAW General Release and NSCAW Restricted Release data.


There is no cost to order NSCAW data. Two different versions of the NSCAW data are available to members of the research community who meet eligibility criteria and agree to the requirements of the data license. The NDACAN distribution of NSCAW data has been established in consultation with the Research Triangle Institute and the NSCAW Research Group, to permit dissemination of NSCAW data to responsible researchers while satisfying concerns about respondent anonymity.

The least restrictive version is known as the NSCAW General Release Data. Identifying information and geographic detail have been removed from this version and variables posing a risk of respondent disclosure have been recoded to make identification of individuals unlikely. NDACAN recommends that researchers initially obtain the General Release Data when they are learning to use the NSCAW data.

If you plan to publish research results using NSCAW data, NDACAN highly recommends that researchers obtain the NSCAW Restricted version for publication-level research, not the General Release version. The General Release version is only suitable for gaining an understanding of the study structure and the required statistical methods, but the Restricted Release version has more data and greater research utility because geographic detail is present and fewer variables have been recoded. For more information about why the Restricted Release is recommended over than the General Release, please contact NDACAN.

The NSCAW Restricted Release presents a higher risk to respondent confidentiality than the NSCAW General Release Data, and are, therefore, only made available to researchers who can justify a need for high level access and who are willing to follow additional application requirements.

If you are unsure whether the NSCAW Restricted Release version contains variables that will address your research topic, please request the NSCAW Restricted Release documentation by e-mailing with your complete contact information.

Eligibility to Obtain NSCAW Data

NSCAW General Release: these data are available to most researchers and requires submission of the NDACAN Terms of Use Agreement.

NSCAW Restricted Release: Researchers must apply to receive the NSCAW Restricted data by providing completed forms and other documents required for a Restricted Data License. One requirement to obtain these data is that you be a researcher at an organization with an Institutional Review Board/Human Subjects Review Committee (IRB) that is registered with the U.S. Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP). The OHRP certifies institutions whose IRBs have met certain procedural criteria. Researchers from organizations without IRBs registered with OHRP must employ the services of a commercial IRB that is registered with OHRP.

Please note: employees at child welfare agencies are not presently eligible to obtain any version of the NSCAW data.

Student Access

A student cannot request the NSCAW Restricted data directly. A faculty member at the student's institution must request the data and serve as the Investigator for license purposes, and can designate the student as an additional researcher. The faculty member submits a Research Staff Form which, upon NDACAN approval, allows the student to use the NSCAW Restricted Data. The faculty member and the institution bear full responsibility for ensuring that all conditions of the agreement are met by the student. NSCAW Restricted Data are licensed to individual researchers and their approved Research Staff but cannot be used for classroom instruction.

NSCAW Restricted Data: Research Teams Consisting of Persons Employed at Different Institutions

If an Investigator would like to use the NSCAW Restricted Data in collaboration with researchers at another institution, then the researchers at the second institution must apply for and receive their own separate Restricted Data license from NDACAN. This includes situations when an Investigator contracts with a firm to perform programming services using the data i.e. both the Investigator's organization and the firm performing the programming must have separate Licenses.

NSCAW File Format and Sizes

Data files are distributed in SPSS, SAS, and STATA compatible formats.
If you're ordering NSCAW Restricted Release, then you will receive both NSCAW RR I and II.

Approximate File sizes:

  • NSCAW I General Release: 2 Gigabytes
  • NSCAW II General Release: 1.02 Gigabytes
  • NSCAW I Restricted Release: 2.3 Gigabytes
  • NSCAW II Restricted Release: 1.2 Gigabytes

License Duration for NSCAW Restricted

A License to use the NSCAW Restricted data lasts for 3 years. If you need more than 3 years of access, then you need to create a new license before your current one expires. Please follow these instructions to apply for a new license
Apply for a Restricted Data License

Links for Ordering the NSCAW Data